Texas has some of the most complicated lien laws of any state. The two main kinds of liens available to contractors are mechanic’s liens and constitutional liens. Both of these kinds of liens begin with a contract with the property owner or representative of the property owner. If an owner is not paying you for your work, it may be time to think about filing a preliminary notice or a lien.
In part one of this article, a Houston construction lien attorney explains mechanic’s liens in Texas.
It is important to give the owner ample time to pay before filing a lien. In some cases, just filing a notice can result in payment. In Texas, all notices are due the 15th day of the second month after you have commenced work at the site. If you are doing any kind of specialty work, you may wish to file a Notice of Specially Fabricated Materials.
Notices must be filed with the Harris County Clerk’s office to be valid and maintain proper records. Send notice to owners or their representatives by way of certified mail and request a return receipt for documentation.
Statutory Mechanic’s Liens Deadlines
The deadlines to file mechanic’s liens are fairly complicated and vary by property type, such as residential, non-residential, and homestead. Homestead properties have different deadlines and laws, covered in another article. It is always good to check with the owner of a residential property to make sure it is not a homesteaded property before starting your work, so you can comply with the law.
The deadlines for filing the Affidavit of Mechanic’s Lien are as follows:
- Non-residential: Lien must be filed by the 15th day of the fourth month after the day the debt accrued. The deadline to enforce the lien is two years after the last day possible to file the lien or one year from the completion date of the work, depending on which date is later.
- Residential: Lien must be filed by the 15th day of the third month after the day the debt accrued. The deadline to enforce the lien is one year after the last day possible to file the lien or one year from the completion date of the work, using the later date.
The lien affidavit must be sent to the Harris County Clerk’s office and to the owner with certified mail. It must be sent to the owner no more than five days after it is filed with the County Clerk.
There may still be options to assert a lien if you’ve already missed the deadline for a mechanic’s lien. Read part 2 of this article to learn about constitutional liens.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.